The Cat House on the Kings: The Trials of TNR, The Selma Sagas, Abandoned Pets

Sep 26, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Jackie Dale

by Jackie Dale

Jackie is a part of Cat House On The Kings in Parlier and does a monthly column on the Cat House here at KRL.

TNR Education

In my capacity as a TNR volunteer for The Cat House on the Kings, I spend a good deal of time performing the actual trapping etc. However, a lot of that time is also spent educating people on why we do what we do. We have to convince people that trap, neuter, and return is often the only available option. Then come the naysayers who make their outrageous, dubiously substantiated claims about how cats are single-handedly bringing about the downfall of society. This is despite scientific evidence to the contrary.


An ear-tipped feral

The World Animal Foundation’s Earth and Animals magazine has published an excellent article on the importance of feral cats to the environment. This partial excerpt sums it up very well: “Cats play a complex role in the local ecosystems; removing them is a major risk. Although opponents of Trap-Neuter-Return claim that removing cats would “save” other species, this has never borne out in the instances where cats have been removed. These extermination programs result in the cruel, extreme and prolonged targeting of cats.” In addition, the article goes on to state that extermination programs have resulted in sudden over-population of mice, rats, and rabbits to the extent that they threatened the habitats and food supply of other native animals. I strongly urge you to click this link and read the entire article.

The Veterans Hospital in Fresno is currently conducting a mass trapping of resident cats, much to the dismay of the veterans. One of our volunteers had permission to TNR at the hospital. Months later, one person arbitrarily decided that would change. The cats are being taken to the SPCA where we all know what happens to cats deemed “unadoptable.” I really find this action reprehensible. Some of the cats were saved by volunteers and are being held in foster care for the veterans who want them. Nothing says thank you for your service like killing something that brings a little joy into the day of a veteran. Shameful!

The Selma Sagas


Lil Boy

My Selma colony has always been a roller-coaster ride full of ups and downs. I recently went to release one of the females after spaying and the cat ran up inside the engine of my car. There is a Les Schwab commercial where the kitten is trapped in the woman’s engine area and Les Schwab takes off the wheels and rescues the kitten, who is “alive and well and spoiled rotten!” Well, it was just like that. Sort of. The cat found an open spot in the engine compartment and would not come out. There was even a Les Schwab down the street that I was seriously considering calling. I was crawling around on the ground trying to dislodge the cat to no avail. Twice, guys came over to see if I needed assistance and when I told them each that I was trying to get a cat out of my engine, they both said, “well, good luck with that,” and walked away. Honking the horn didn’t do it. Finally I found a glove in my trunk, lay on my back, and scooted under the car on my back. After a bit of cat wrangling (I was trying to be gentle), I managed to get hold of the cat and remove her from the car. She ran off into the bushes and has been very leery of me ever since. Then someone came in and removed all the bowls. I will not be deterred!

catUnfortunately the roller coaster continued on the down slope for me. When I arrived at the colony last week to feed, I found my favorite kitty had been killed. “Lil Boy” was my absolute favorite. After nearly four years of feeding him, he had finally been allowing me to touch him. Each time he did it, I would feel so happy that he trusted me that much. I loved my little orange bobtail boy. Evidence suggests a dog attack was culprit. I am now seeing only three of the colony and I am seriously considering relocating them. I called animal control who said they would come for my boy. Three days later I returned to find they had lied. I buried him myself. RIP, my little orange bobtail boy. Run forever free!

Abandoned Cats…

Lynea sent me to a home in Reedley where a caller had said several cats were left behind when the tenant was evicted. Seven cats were living in what looked like a junk pile in the front yard. A neighbor had been providing food and water as the temperatures soared over 100°. All but one were friendly enough to handle. The neighbor took one. One lady I know with a large property took three! That almost never happens. One was relocated, one is currently recovering from her spay at my house, and there is one more to go. It is leery of us, so it might have to be trapped. The one good thing I could say about the owner is that of the seven cats, all but two were already fixed.

… and Dogs

cat house

Tara comforts Shyla after her vaccinations

My daughter alerted me to a situation next door to where her boyfriend lives. The neighbors had moved out and left behind three puppies. The landlord was feeding them but as of the first, if the owners had not returned for them, he was taking them to the pound. We took them in and Bandit’s Buddies of Fresno was gracious enough to take two of the puppies. We are fostering the third and she will be up for adoption after she gets spayed.

In Other News

I have finally finished up my Orange Cove project, “The Lady with 30 Cats.” It actually turned out to be 32, but who’s counting? I did the final group of seven last week. It was a laborious process but I feel great knowing that potentially hundreds of kittens will not be produced. But wouldn’t you know… I’ve received word of another person with over 25 cats. I also overheard a lady in my yoga class say she had about 20 cats, all unfixed. Sigh.


Orange Cove Cats

I can’t understand this. I ask them, “At what point did you realize you had a problem?” “Did it not occur to you to do something before the situation got so out of control?” I get the same limp excuses. Every single time. People whine about over-regulation these days but it is so because people constantly fail to do the right thing. Therefore, I have said it before and I will say it again, mandatory spay and neuter is the only answer.

The current regulations regarding the breeding and selling of pets are completely ignored. Even the Fresno Bee allows “dogs for sale” ads without the required license number of the mother. I hear of people paying hundreds of dollars for specialty dogs. That is just crazy. It is all hypebole. You know what they say, “Today’s expensive designer dogs are yesterday’s mutts you couldn’t give away for free.”

Open House is Coming!

I hope you’ve marked your calendars for our Holiday Open House Fundraiser on November 7th. We are still looking for items for our silent auction. Please consider donating something. Big or small, we take it all. We also very much need volunteers. If you have a donation or would like to volunteer, contact Tammy Barker at tammy@cathouseonthekings[dot]com.

One last thing, until October 5, if you buy a pet bed from Urban Paw, they will donate half of the purchase price to The Cat House on the Kings! Simply use the code “CATHOUSE” when you check out. Here’s a thought; you could donate the bed to the auction! We win twice! Think about it.

Check out more animal rescue & pet related articles, including more Cat House columns, in our Pet Perspective section and remember that if you buy an ad in KRL you can designate 10% of the ad price to go to the Cat House.

Jackie Dale is a freelance writer who lives in Reedley with her husband of 24 years, Frank, and their 2 children. Jackie currently writes for Traffic Magazine and for The Cat House on the Kings Feline Rescue. A former ballerina, Jackie now teaches yoga and fitness classes privately and at local area gyms. Jackie and her family have 6 dogs and 12 cats, all rescues.


  1. Hi, I am a happy owner of about 15 cats and kittens. I understand the importance of neutering the female cats especially. Unfortunately, here (in my location), we don’t have the support of NGOs for funds to cover the cost of neutering a cat. With very limited funding, I am only able to ensure that the younger cats are vaccinated. It would be nice to be able to get the support from organizations like yours and the cat house on the kings. I am always hopeful that this will change soon. Thanks for your article,it is very informative.

  2. Dear Jackie – for some years I’ve subscriber to KRL’s email list, found via CHOTK, and agree 100% with all your articles appearing in this publication. As to the theory about eliminating all cats, especially ferals, there are often facebook references to an official program in Australia regarding this. I’m not sure how much of that story is apocryphal, but the reference keeps surfacing from time to time. What an idiotic ‘solution’ – I can’t imagine how Aussies could possibly support anything remotely like that – so am glad to read your comments re eliminating feral cats. Yours in spirit always, I salute you for your continuing endeavors, as I love CHOTK for the same. Best regards always, April.H in Southern Cal.

  3. Thanks for your comments nong. I’m not sure what an NGO is, but I am simply a volunteer. The Cat House on the Kings only pays if the person can’t. I sometimes, like in the case of the Lady with 30 Cats, raise the funds myself to pay for the spays and neuters. Only because I received my than needed for the spays was I also able to provide the shots. The Cat House does not receive any public monies whatsoever, relying solely on donations and fundraisers. Keep up your good work, we can only do what we can, which is certainly far better than nothing!

  4. Hi Jackie, I’m glad to hear that the lady with the 30 cats has been helped but am so sad to hear that there are still people out there that don’t realize how bad a situation they create when they don’t have their cats spayed or neutered. I worked on a plant nursery in Florida and we always had strays – whenever I could see that they needed to be taken to the vet I would do it because I know that the owners of the nursery felt like so many others “we’ll feed them but so what if they have kittens”. Just so sad – if I could change one thing in the world it would be to have responsible pet owners. What a great thing to never have another shelter for abused and unwanted animals. I keep praying that things will change.

  5. Jackie
    I see the volume of cats that Cat House deals with and I definitely feel for you! Feral Fixers has been doing this for 8 years, I did TNR on my own for several years before that. FF has done almost 8,100 neuters in that time working across our county. We just found a “colony” that spans several businesses in an industrial area and there will be 60+ cats and kittens when we are done. At least 25 will be adoptable. Due to the volume of cats and limit of volunteers, we simply cannot advertise what we do – we are word of mouth but that word of mouth is spread by vets, animal controls, police departments, etc. There are not any municipal funds to pursue and fine people, so it is being left to us to handle – a benefit and a curse :)! There has been a shift towards TNR, among the humans AND among the cats – have never had so many friendlies, ever! I am encouraged by the stories from Cat House, you seem to be doing things right and responsibly there. Keep up the great job you all are doing!

  6. Hi Jackie, I am a rescuer, TNR practitioner and can identify with all the frustrations and rewards that you share. I am also a supporter of CHOTK’s and adopted our little dog Moe there in 2008. You are absolutely correct that spaying and neutering is the answer. I hesitate to support mandatory laws unless low/cost/free services are available. I know here in the rural foothills where I work it would result in cats being abandoned or turned in to AC by people to avoid being fined. My organization does provide a neuter clinic twice a month and we do ferals for no cost including a Rabies vaccination (and ear tip of course). We cannot do spays as our vet is mobile and we do not have a premise permit. We do transport females to Fresno, which is 1 1/2 hours away, when we can. Up here we deal with a lot of folks who only come to us after they have 14-40 cats. I share your feelings on that subject.

  7. Hi Jackie… thanks again so much for all that you do & your article. All my cats are spayed & neutered. My sister has rescued over 100 cats in her lifetime.

    Drove from Sacramento to adopted two kittens from TCHOTK last year. Lynea picked out a long haired tortie for me. Franky is a stinker and Helen is so sweet. Love them both very much.

    I used to live by Fresno City College and TNR a feral female cat that was very pregnant.

    Rescued one abandoned cat and feed other cats that showed up at the apartment building. I know in my heart it is & was the right thing to do….

  8. Jackie,
    So sorry to hear you lost Lil Boy. I know that would break my heart. Thanks for all your good work and your perseverance.

  9. Thanks for all you do. I so look forward to reading your columns and stories and celebrating with you on your rescues, trapping and placements. About those people who say cats should be eliminated – isn’t it sad that people do not learn from the past. The Plague that decimated Europe during the Middle Ages was caused, I’ve read, by rats who roamed unchecked after cats were exterminated by the superstitious populace who thought they were from the Devil. So I am certain that idea should go into the trash bin.

  10. My sympathy to you on the loss of Lil Boy.

  11. So sorry about your Lil boy. Love your column – hope all the love you give to animals comes back to you three-fold!


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